Step back into the early 1900s at the Milner Heritage House. It was here in Chatham that Robert Milner started a modest buggy and sleigh manufacturing business. In 1874, at the age of 19, Emma Wicks married Robert. Emma became a prominent artist, even though she didn't have any formal training. She specialized in "crayon" portraits (pencil stippling) for which she won many awards.
By the 1890s, the Milner Carriage Works had grown to become one of the largest vehicle producers in southern Ontario. Robert had established himself as one of Chatham’s “Captains of Industry.” Robert and his wife, Emma, built this Queen Anne-style residence on the corner of William and Murray Streets in 1894. Together, they had seven children.
In 1943, following Emma’s death in 1936, and Robert’s in 1941, their children donated the house to the City of Chatham. For over 45 years, the residence served as the Chatham-Kent Museum. Today, the restored Milner Heritage House depicts the turn-of-the-century lifestyle of a successful industrialist and his family. Costumed interpreters take visitors back in time to 1905 when stereoscopes, gramophones and magic lanterns were a family’s means of entertainment, and a “modern” kitchen consisted of a wood stove, icebox and a new, all-purpose “Chatham” cupboard.
The home also features a stunning collection of art by Emma Milner. Her greatest pieces were the incredibly detailed pencil portraits that she created of her family, friends and famous personalities of the day.
Information & Services
- The Milner Heritage House welcomes bus tours, church, school, and special interest groups year-round by appointment. Please call at least four weeks in advance to book your tour. Cost: $5.00/person (minimum $50/tour).
- Parking is provided free of charge. There are two parking lots. The largest one is located on William Street North and the other is on Murray Street.
- The Milner Heritage House is currently inaccessible to wheelchairs. We would be pleased to accommodate you in any way we can. Please contact the museum to arrange alternative access.
- The house is climate-controlled for your comfort and for the protection of our artifacts.
- Enjoy the many picnic areas, located across the street in beautiful Tecumseh Park.
- There is a bus stop located at the Milner Heritage House on Murray Street.
- Please call 519-352-1920 for transit information.